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Career information literacy and decision making behaviours of young people

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, March 22, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

A fully funded PhD studentship is being offered within the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University.

The main aim of this doctoral study is to generate new knowledge on career development learning with reference to decision-making amongst young people in S2-S6 (aged 12-18) who are preparing for their lives beyond school education. As well as developing theoretical insight, the findings will contribute to the effective design and delivery of enhanced careers services that take into account the means by which these young people recognise, respond to, and make decisions about varied learning and career opportunities.

Recognising the crucial role of information in career decision-making, the focus of the work is the identification of means of enhancing career information literacy amongst young people as key to their career development learning, and to their future career success in the challenging employment environment of the Information Society.

Mixed multi-methods will be deployed to gather and analyse data to address five research questions
RQ1: How do young people recognise, respond to, and make decisions about the varied learning and career opportunities (e.g. vocational versus academic) available to them?
RQ2: To what extent have the responses of young people to information on different career pathways (e.g. modern/foundation/graduate apprenticeships, academic) changed over time?
RQ3: How can career information literacy be developed amongst young people so that they are best equipped to engage effectively in career development learning and career decision-making?
RQ4: How should information on career development be delivered to young people for the best outcomes?
RQ5: How do variables related to demographics of young people (e.g. gender) and features of information (e.g. format) influence career decision-making behaviours?

Eligibility Criteria & Academic Qualifications

We are interested in receiving applications for the studentship on a full-time or a part-time basis. Your eligibility to apply will depend on your current level of degree qualification, prior training in advanced research methods, and your ability to meet the additional criteria for the studentship award. If you hold, or are nearing successful completion of, a Masters degree in a social science subject which includes 60 credits of research training, you may be eligible to apply for the fully-funded PhD programme: 3 year full-time; 5 year part-time. If you do not hold a Masters qualification and are not currently working towards one (or the Masters degree that you hold/are working towards does not include 60 credits of research methods training), you will be required to undertake an approved Masters-level research training programme for one year before transferring to this PhD programme. This route is also fully funded, i.e. you will be funded for the approved Masters-level research training programme and for the PhD. In addition to the above, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

1. Hold a good first degree (2.1 or first class).
2. Demonstrate an interest in, and knowledge of, the broad theme of the studentship as described above.
3. Have a good grounding in social research, including both qualitative and quantitative methods, with a keen desire to develop this further.
4. Demonstrate an excellent level of spoken and written English.

We are particularly interested in receiving applications from those with qualifications in subjects such as: Careers; Education; Information Management; Information Science; Information Systems; Knowledge Management; Management; Organisational Studies; Psychology; Science, Technology and Innovation Studies, Social Research; and Sociology. However, this is not a requirement: if you have a qualification in another social science subject and meet the criteria listed above, we would still be keen to hear from you.
Students must meet ESRC eligibility criteria. ESRC eligibility information can be found here...

English language requirements

IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with no less than 6.0 in any component). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted, full details of the University’s policy is available online.

Award Details

The scholarship is available as a +3 or a 1+3 programme depending on prior research training. This will be assessed as part of the recruitment process. The programme will commence in October 2019. It includes an annual maintenance grant at the RCUK rate (2018/19 rate £14,777 full-time); fees at the standard Home rate; students can also draw on a pooled Research Training Support Grant, usually up to a maximum of £750 per year.

Funding Notes

The studentship is one of a number supported by a partnership between ESRC Scottish Graduate School of Social Science – Doctoral Training Partnership (SGSSS-DTP) and Skills Development Scotland (SDS). It is hosted by The Science, Technology, Innovation, and Information and Communication Studies (STIS-ICS) pathway of the SGSSS-DTP. UK/EU fees are covered. In addition, an annual stipend at the current rate is available for students who meet the ESRC studentship residential conditions for eligibility at: View Website


Jenkins, L. & Jeske, D. (2017). Interactive support effects on career agency and occupational engagement among young adults. Journal of Career Assessment, 25(4), 616-631.
Kracke, B. (2002). The role of personality, parents and peers in adolescent career exploration. Journal of Adolescence, 25, 19-30.
Lin-Stephens, S., Smith, S., Peso, M., & Pang. V. (2016). The career information literacy framework: a case study of information systems, information technology and engineering capstone units of an Australian university. In Proceedings of the Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems (PACIS) 2016. 52. Available:
Zalaquett, C.P. & Osborn, D.S. (2007). Fostering counseling students’ career information literacy through a comprehensive career web site. Counselor Education and Supervision, 46, 162- 171.

Related Subjects

How good is research at Edinburgh Napier University in Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 7.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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